Thanks to AI, search is very much on the move. Generative AI can help us do more in search engines, as Google shows in its Search Generative Experience (SGE). This experimental addition to the search engine gives us a glimpse of the future of search. Let’s take a look and see what it entails!
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What is Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE)?
SGE is part of Google’s larger experimental initiative hosted under Search Labs. This is where it tests cutting-edge search functionalities. Generative AI, a highly advanced form of artificial intelligence capable of creating content, powers this innovative feature.
As announced on Google’s official blog, the underlying goal of SGE is to redefine search experiences, transforming them from passive information receivers to more interactive and personalized.
Google initiated the Search Generative Experience (SGE) to improve users’ search experience and develop the future of search. For this, Google uses generative AI to provide quick and concise overviews of search topics to enhance the search results. Or, as Google says, “We’re testing new ways to get more done right from Search.”
SGE utilizes generative AI, delivering AI-powered overviews that allow users to explore content and grasp key points swiftly. Depending on the search, a big block of information appears at the top of search results. The amount of information offered could mean that users no longer feel the need to navigate to multiple web pages.
The other reason is the generative part of the equation. Google can now develop ways for users to interact with the results and to do things nobody has ever done before, i.e., producing something right in the SERPs.
Key features of Google’s SGE
One of the more recent features of SGE is its ability to generate dynamic and interactive visual content. Users are no longer confined to receiving static, text-based results. Instead, with SGE, your textual search prompts can now be translated into images.
The artificial intelligence system uses your prompts to understand the desired result and create representations matching your query. You can now create straight from the SERPs — opening up unlimited options for engaging with search results.
Extended search results
Another essential feature of SGE is its ability to customize search experiences based on user preferences and behaviors. It incorporates user-generated content, like customer reviews, into search results.
For instance, you’re looking for an excellent Mexican restaurant in your city. SGE won’t just guide you to a random list of restaurants. It also gives you more context, like specials and the restaurant’s ambiance. Google says it gets data “from the reviews, photos and Business Profile details that people have submitted to Google for more than 200 million places in the real world.” Plus, you’ll also notice links to Yelp, Tripadvisor, and more in there.
Google’s SGE is designed with user-friendly navigation in mind. The SGE interface shows information and actively helps users engage with search results. As such, the user interface makes discovery a natural part of the search experience. You can even ask follow-up questions or do related searches.
Lastly, SGE uses different formats to round out search results. Whether news articles, personal blogs, customer reviews, business listings, or social media posts, SGE uses various types, ensuring a more thorough answer to your search queries.
Keep in mind that not every query triggers an AI result.
The impact of SGE on search experiences
The impact of the Search Generative Experience spans all internet users, creators, and businesses, extensively redefining the search experience. Let’s not forget we are looking at the future of how people use Google.
Beginning with end users, SGE is celebrated for its innovative approach to enhancing the search experience. Google says it’s particularly appreciated by younger users aged 18–24, who are more inclined toward digital platforms that offer a blend of interactive and information-rich experiences. Integrating reviews, images, and videos in response to search queries delivers a more comprehensive and rich search experience than traditional search models.
A new way of thinking
The SGE will change how our content will be discovered, and it could also change what we and our users expect from a search result. But as the SGE handles search queries differently, it could offer us new ways to reach our audiences.
Criticism of the SGE
Google’s Search Generative Experience could potentially hurt our SEO efforts. One key criticism revolves around the possibility of reduced visibility for organic search results.
Since SGE provides AI-generated overviews at the top of search results, users may find the need to click significantly reduced. This could result in lower CTR and less organic traffic for websites.
Additionally, some are concerned about potential bias towards publishers and authoritative sources, which could limit the visibility and exposure of smaller websites and niche content. As such, some people fear that SGE leads to a complex SEO landscape and could require a strategy shift.
The SGE is an experiment
It’s important to realize that this feature is still in development. Some users found the SGE interface has occasional performance issues, leading to slower load times. Additionally, as an experimental feature, the interface and specific features change as Google continues to improve.
Google’s Search Generative Experience is still experimental. However, its scope and the impacts are already far-reaching. We can only imagine how this will mature and reshape Google search.
How to start with Google’s Search Generative Experience
Google’s Search Generative Experience is an innovative feature that uses artificial intelligence to provide users with unique search results. If you’re eager to try this experiment, here’s a step-by-step guide. Please test it to see how and if your content gets picked up in the SGE.
1. Access Search Labs
First, ensure you have a personal Google account and access to Google Search. Next, use your Chrome browser to navigate to Search Labs for experimental features and the SGE experience.
2. Opt into SGE
Within Search Labs, look for the option to opt into the Search Generative Experience. Remember that SGE is an experimental feature, so availability may vary. If it’s accessible, click on the option to enable SGE and start experiencing AI-powered overviews. Currently, the SGE is available in 120 countries (not in Europe!) and supports English, Hindi, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Indonesian and Japanese.
3. Perform a search
With SGE enabled, search on Google as you normally would. Type your query into the search bar and hit enter. Click on the grey button to access AI-powered results. The search results page will now feature AI-powered overviews, offering quick and concise summaries of the search topic.
4. Review the AI-powered results
At the top of the search results page, you’ll notice an AI-powered overview related to your query. This overview provides key information and insights, allowing you to grasp the main points of the topic without the need to click on individual search results. Of course, you’ll also find external sources in there.
5. Explore further
Although the AI-powered overview gives you a comprehensive understanding of the search topic, you may still want to explore more. Scroll through the search results below the overview to find additional information, websites, articles, and resources related to your query. Fine-tune your search to see the results change or ask follow-up questions to the AI.
6. Provide feedback
As an experimental feature, Google welcomes user feedback to improve SGE. If you encounter any issues, have suggestions, or would like to share your experience, navigate to the feedback section within Search Labs. Your feedback can contribute to the refinement and enhancement of SGE. Google regularly introduces improvements, updates, and new features based on user feedback and advancements in AI technology.
Google’s SGE gives us an exciting sneak peek at the future of online search. Whether it’s the generation of imagery from textual cues or bringing more options to the search results, SGE is all about enriching the user experience.
We’ll have to wait and see what other things Google is up to in its Search Lab. One thing is sure – SGE represents a big step towards making searching and creating content more useful. As for how it affects our SEO efforts, we’ll have to wait and see.